Gambling is an extremely lucrative industry in the UK, with an estimated Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) worth £14.4bn according to the latest figures supplied by its regulator, the Gambling Commission (GC). Most people’s first encounter with gambling is via their local high street, a prime location for the big players in the industry, such as Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill and Betfred. With 10,761 gambling premises used by licensed operators across the country, you are roughly ten times more likely to stumble across a bookies then a McDonalds! Yet it is the online sector that has rapidly grown to become the industry’s largest with a market share of 37.1%.
Much of the success of online gambling can be attributed to the industry’s use of television and social media platforms that offer a never-ending stream of incentives to potential customers in the form of free bets and bonuses. There is no doubt that this tactic works and a 2019 GC report titled “Gambling participation in 2018: behaviour, awareness and attitudes” revealed that “45% of online gamblers were prompted to spend money on a gambling activity due to the adverts that they saw. This was compared to 49% of online gamblers (with a social media account) who saw similar adverts on a social media platform.”
The gambling industry is highly competitive, so it is no wonder that the company’s operating within it invest heavily in marketing and advertising in an attempt to differentiate themselves from each other. The tactic seems to be working as the GC recently reported that 24 million people gambled in the UK between 2018/2019, an increase of 2% since December 2017.
The greed of the gambling industry to snare their prey via free bets and other promotions has seen the rise of an extremely savvy community of so-called “matched bettors who wish to take advantage of these offers to make a small profit for themselves legitimately and with minimal effort. By covering one side of a wage with a free bet, a matched bettor will then make an opposite bet at a betting exchange. Effectively with both sides of a bet covered, they cannot lose. The result is small amount of profit, with minimal risk, which would not be possible without the use of the free bet offered by a gambling company in the first instance.
Matched betting was relatively unknown until the development of the first peer to peer betting exchange called flutter.com which was launched in 2000. As the online gambling industry arose, matched betting came into its own. Matched betting companies arose and quickly became intertwined with active matched betting communities. In exchange of a small fee, the latter utilise the cutting-edge software and technology these companies offer in order to quickly take advantage of the huge number of free bets being offered by the gambling industry
Officially the betting companies claim that matched betting industry does not affect their businesses or is a minor irritant. In response to a Daily Telegraph enquiry last August, a spokesman for William Hill said it tried to discourage customers “exploiting offers designed to benefit regular customers”, as it limits the firm’s “commercial ability to reward genuine customers and enhance their experience with us.” While James Midmer, Head of Communications at Paddy Power, said the profits were not high enough to compensate for the time and research needed to win.
In reality, the gambling industry likes it when the odds are in its favour and cannot abide being taken advantage off. That is why matched bettors are finding that the gambling industry is increasing employing a whole host of nefarious tactics to prevent them from making a legitimate profit. For example, in December last year a Sportsmail investigation revealed what many matched bettors had long thought. That online gambling firms were ranking customers using sophisticated software, allowing them to limit amounts bet by successful gamblers or even close their accounts if they are being too successful. The most despicable were and even using stalling tactics to stop customers withdrawing money, demanding financial details such as employment history and National Insurance numbers, with the result that the winnings can be lost during the delay.
It is no wonder then that the number of complaints to the Gambling Commission about bookies’ behaviour has rose to a record 8,266 complaints in 2018, compared with just 169 in 2013. Despite the behaviour of many companies with the gambling industry, its success seems to show no signs of slowing, and there appears to be no shortage of punters who fail to understand that the house always wins. What is certain though, is that canny Matched Bettors will continue to rebalance the odds in their favour, and legitimately enjoy their fair share of the gambling industries wealth. Our industry cannot be stopped. It’s simply a question of staying two steps ahead of the competition!
Sam Stoffel is the Founder and CEO of the UK’s most popular Matched Betting platform, Profit Accumulator. Authoritative and Influential within the Matched Betting sector, Profit Accumulator is now a multi-million-pound turnover empire, built on sophisticated technology and driven by Stoffel’s clear trajectory for growth.